Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Craig Thomson to face an additional five charges of fraud, told to stay away from brothels

Craig Thomson

EMBATTLED MP Craig Thomson has been warned off making contact with sex workers at several brothels he allegedly frequented from 2003 to 2007.
The bail condition was set as charge sheets reveal he is facing 154 charges ranging from deception involving amounts of more than $2000, to small amounts for in-house R-rated pornographic movies on union credit cards he is alleged to have falsely represented as his own.
Mr Thomson appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, where a further five charges were laid in relation to alleged misuse of union funds.
He was ordered to reappear for a committal mention on May 22.
The former Labor MP, now sitting as an independent, later emerged from court with his wife, Zoe Arnold to again vigorously protest his innocence.
After joking that the media pack waiting for him was more like an AFL grand final turnout, Mr Thomson, arrested on the NSW Central Coast last week, also complained that police had yet to produce a list of witnesses in the case.
“What was disappointing about today was it became clear that not only was last Thursday wrongly done by the police, but after 18 months in relation to investigating this matter they still don't even have witnesses that they are able to produce for us in terms of some of these issues that are here.
“So that's disappointing.We are trying to get on with this, get it on as quickly as we can.
“It wasn't encouraging that the police still aren't even ready after all this time, but we'll get on with it as quickly as we can to clear my name.”
In court, Mr Thomson's barrister, Bill Dwyer, argued that prosecutors should identify the witnesses his client was prohibited from contacting.
However magistrate Donna Bakos agreed to prosecutors amending bail conditions prohibiting him from contacting a “class of persons” owning or working at particular businesses, including Boardroom Escorts, Tiffany's Girls, A Touch of Class and Young Blondes.
Mr Thomson must also notify police of any trips interstate or overseas unless he is going to Canberra for parliamentary business.
In court he spoke only when asked by Ms Bakos whether he understood the varied conditions of his bail.
He stood and replied: “Yes I do your honour”.
Mr Dwyer also told Ms Bakos that claims in the warrant for arrest that Mr Thomson had been avoiding service of the summons and not making himself available to police were untrue.
“That's simply not accepted,” Mr Dwyer said. “He was always available.
“Police were well aware he was.”
Ms Bakos said the court was not concerned with his comments because it had heard no such allegation from the prosecution.
“He is here, he's answered his bail, that is all this court is concerned about,” Ms Bakos said.
Mr Dwyer said his client had had the matters hanging over his head for a long time.
“He is anxious to get these matters resolved,” he said.
Mr Thomson has repeatedly denied allegations he misused member funds to pay for prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals when he was national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU).
He said outside court he would not make any further comment given the matter was before the courts.
He joked about the size of the media scrum.
“You'd think it's (the) AFL grand final with all you blokes here,” he said.
“I'm sure you'll all be back here on the 22nd.
“Talk to you then.”

Craig Thomson to face an additional five charges of fraud, told to stay away from brothels


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